Bicycle rental service JoBike, the first initiative of its kind in the country, yesterday launched on a pilot basis in the tourist city of Cox's Bazar, and will move for commercial basis based on the success of the trial initiative.
JoBike officials said initially about 20 bicycles will be available from three points of the city -- Kolatoli, Sugandha and Laboni point, and can be rented automatically via a smartphone app.
To make the service popular, the company is offering the service free of charge for the first seven days, said Istiaque Ahmed, manager (operations) at JoBike Limited.
However, another official said charge might be set at Tk 1.50 for each minute, but if anyone rents a bicycle for the entire day, they may be charged at a different rate.
The JoBike mobile application enables users to find bicycles for rent. After downloading the app, users will have to sign up, and can then scan a QR code on the bicycle to unlock and use it.
The bicycles are especially designed for using for both ladies and gents, said Ahmed. “Our plan is to make the service popular within one month, and then we will move for commercial service.”
Mehdi Reza, founder and president of JoBike, said they have chosen Cox's Bazar as it is the heart of tourism of the country, and lot of local and foreign tourists travel across the city every day. “We want to make their visit easier.”
Reza, a former product operations manager at Alibaba Group, the largest online trading company of the world, also believes that this initiative will help to flourish the country's tourism industry and at the same time will make country's transport system digitised and easier.
Earlier, the technology firm donated ten bicycles to aid in development work at the Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar.
The company also plans to run another pilot programme on the Jahangirnagar University campus with another 20 bicycles from the first week of July, Ahmed added. They have already opened registration for the university area service a few days ago.
Replying to a question, a top official of the company said they are not concerned about the bicycles' security, as they are using Internet of Things (IoT) technology in their specially-designed bikes, which will protect those.
As it is a very environment-friendly mode of transport, this kind of bicycle-sharing service is very popular in different countries like China, Singapore and a number of European countries.